Waterloo, Ont.-based technology hub Communitech is fine tuning its start-up accelerator program called Hyperdrive to better support early-stage technology entrepreneurs.
Hyperdrive was created last year and has already admitted 18 companies to its first two cohorts. These companies have raised $3.7 million and created more than 70 jobs.
The Hyperdrive program will now be extended by an additional six months. One of the reasons for the program upgrade is that Communitech realized that traditional seed-accelerators don’t go far enough and that these ompanies need to transition into a sales and marketing mindset as soon as they have validated their business model.
Communitech has also increased the use of best of breed tools like Steve Blank’s business model canvas and Startup Genome, which will also help the hub be more data driven.
For Intel Canada GM Doug Cooper who is on the board of Communitech said that companies need more opportunity to meet, build relationships and get feedback on their businesses from the investment community — right from the beginning of the sprint.
Other program benefits are:
- The program is being extended to six months – making it unique in Canada. The first three months is a sprint that concludes in a Demo Day and a potential investment of $150,000. The final three months will focus on sales and marketing growth. The extended program also includes elective programming. Companies can stay in residence at Communitech for the full six months.
- There will be a second Demo Day in the critical adjacent market of Toronto to engage a broader group of potential investors.
- The existing one-week trip to New York City to meet funders, partners and potential customers will be moved to after Demo Day, to better align with the increased sales and raising capital focus of the program.
- A Hyperdrive Advisory Group composed of world-class founders has been formed to ensure the program remains globally competitive.
At the end of six months, Hyperdrive companies transition to the comprehensive programming Communitech has developed over the past 15 years — services and programs that are designed to assist tech companies through every stage of their lifecycle (startups, mid-size to large multinationals). These programs specifically focus on helping tech companies attract talent, raise capital, and tap into the Communitech network of hundreds of successful entrepreneurs, investors, academic partners, service providers and companies such as OpenText, Christie Digital, Google, Canadian Tire, BlackBerry, and Desire2Learn.